I’ve wanted to try the Hyatt Centric brand for some time. I liked the idea of their approach to premium design hotels and it’s something different for the chain. While limited in scope right now, some of the more exciting locations are Chicago Loop, Miami and soon Lima (so I never have to stay at the Stinky Sheraton Lima again). I was excited to stay at the Hyatt Centric Woodlands near Houston, Texas but secretly worried I would be let down.
The Woodlands is a suburb north of Houston and close to George Bush Intercontinental Airport. From the airport to the property, it took no more than 20 minutes door-to-door though the rest of my business in Houston was less convenient.
If you have business, family or friends in the Woodlands area of Houston, this property is located in the heart of everything. If you have business or meetings near Galleria or downtown, this is not a good choice for you. (or at least wasn’t for me).
9595 Six Pines Dr #1100,
The Woodlands, TX 77380
+1 281 203 5005
I called ahead of time to ensure that I would be able to checkin early and I was told that while they could get me in early (I landed at 10AM) they would like to upgrade me to a patio suite and would need a little more time as it was occupied. That’s not a problem for me. I grabbed some lunch with a co-worker while I waited for my suite to open up.
I appreciated that the hotel had proactively upgraded me but was also willing to accommodate me if I would prefer just to have a place to lay my head. A patio suite also seemed like something interesting. I had pictured a little garden off the living room, maybe a grill, some strings of low hanging lights. Instead it was just a balcony, but it was a nice option and I appreciated it. I had a view of the pool and utilized the outdoor space in the evening when it cooled down.
The design of my suite was heavy on space and separation of rooms. Smartly, the desk wrapped around the edge of the room and led to a small area where food could be prepared, a coffee machine sat and over the top of the mini fridge. One note on the mini fridge, it was split in thirds. The left 2/3rds of the fridge held items for sale that would trigger a charge if they were removed, however the other 1/3rd to the right was wide open and available for guest needs. I appreciated them having both options in the room.
The living room offered a large couch, mounted movable arm TV, and coffee table/ottoman. A removable desk that sits over your lap while on the couch is pictured below on the coffee table /ottoman holding magazines in the photo. There was no balcony access from the living room. The bedroom was a separate room with dual wooden doors, lockable if so preferred.
It was possible to brighten up the bedroom by opening up the outside curtains fully and putting on every light in the room but I don’t think you should have to be fully exposed to the outside just to be able to see what you’re doing in the room.
The closet was a little bizarre with a heavy curtain to close and it was difficult to see anything inside it. The pair of robes hanging in the closet were excellent, but the clever setup with the sleeve tucked inside and waist string wrapped around the middle caused me a problem with I will outline below. The robe was so comfortable that I nearly bought one to take home, however, I simply didn’t have the space in my luggage.
For the first time on a review I have separated out the layout of the room from the décor of the room. The color scheme is a bold choice with black lace and heavy curtains throughout the suite (including acting as the door to closet and covering the wall behind the bed).
This is certainly along the lines of what you might find at a W, or a club that’s still carding clientele at the door – and rejecting some for being too young. Not all of the elements follow this same style guide, notably in the bathroom where it looks like it’s a different hotel altogether.
However, the rest of the property offered a more sedated tone. The Woodlands area of north Houston is in fact, a wooded area. The lobby features a backdrop of forest wallpaper with real tree trunks. Some of the décor in the lobby was from Z Gallerie, adjascent to the property.
The suite bathroom was huge. I think the space could have been used a little bit smarter, however. For example, there was a very long shower – you could have fit 5-6 people with a deep bench at the back. Obviously, there is very limited use case for a shower that long – and this is a family-friendly blog. There was also five or six feet in the middle of the bathroom that sat vacant and without purpose. Why not try to fit a standalone tub in the space or make the bathroom a little smaller but offer a walk-in closet?
Each Hyatt brand has their own line of toiletries. Most Park Hyatts feature Le Labo which I unabashedly loot at every opportunity – Brad at Travel Codex has his own obsessions. As Hyatt Centric was a new brand for me, I was unfamiliar with BeeKind. In keeping with the focus on environmentally-concious millennials (because of course that’s the focus) is a natural soap brand. I won’t be writing a separate review in praise of the soap any time soon, but it was good enough to leave my own Le Labo in my dopp kit. However, I did run downstairs to the attached Lush and grab some coal face soap.
I had dinner meetings during my stay so I didn’t have a chance to try the restaurant in the evenings. However, I stopped by on my way out for two reasons, 1) They offer a happy hour that I might take advantage of in the future; 2) The pool is located just outside the restaurant doors on the second floor and I wanted to get a closer look.
On both days of my stay I ordered room service breakfast which was included as a Globalist benefit without begging, pleading or even asking. Some hotels only honor this in the lounge (this Hyatt Centric doesn’t have one) or in the restaurant – and they can be rather strict. It’s certainly appreciated when hotels offer room service as a valid breakfast and I am happy to pay any gratuities associated therein.
I have one complaint about breakfast and it’s a first world problem so if those aren’t for you, please skip to the next section. I don’t believe that balsamic vinaigrette was listed as a topping on the Caprese omelet. I get it, on caprese salads balsamic is a standard topping. However, when you put it into omelet form it’s basically a tomato and cheese omelet and balsamic covering the top of your eggs is a strong and offensive taste first thing in the morning. My point is this, if it was a spicy omelet, you would still mention that it was covered in hot sauce right? Let’s do the same when it’s slathered with a vinegar product too.
You know when the fire alarm goes off at 6AM and wakes up the whole hotel? Guests are frustrated, some of the building gets evacuated, people demand refunds. Well, this time it was sort of my fault and I know that if I was another guest that didn’t have to get up early I would have been pretty frustrated.
I don’t take hot and steamy showers typically, that’s my wife’s modus operandi. However, after taking a shower there was some steam in the bathroom. When I opened the door to the bathroom, steam escaped through the open door and set off the fire alarm. How, you ask? It’s not actually a fire alarm, it’s a heat detector which includes sudden bursts of steam. Where did the engineers decide to place this? Why above the bathroom door in the bedroom of course. Door opens, steam escapes from the bathroom and climbs straight up (heat rises), intercepting the heat detector with a flash burst of heat and sets off the ear-piercing alarm at 6AM.
I grabbed my towel and tried to swing it towards the detector to bring in colder air and dissipate the steam. This was mostly ineffective. Naked as a bear in the Woodlands I am swinging the towel and grabbing the phone to call downstairs to the front desk. I let them know the situation and they acknowledge it and ask if I need assistance. I do not as I was able to get the alarm off while talking to them and I replaced the phone on the handset.
I start to get dressed when I get a knock on the door. As I am not fully dressed, I grab for the comfortable aforementioned robe. It’s clever, hung up design with the sleeve tucked into a pocket and the waist tie tightly wrapped around the body of the robe made for a Chevy Chase-like scene.
I shout towards the door, “Just a moment” while I try to untie it or slip it over my head like a t-shirt. “Everything ok in there?” he calls as I find I somehow have one sleeve on correctly but the waist wrap is now around both my neck and under my left arm. “Just a second” I call as I consider just going to the door naked. Though I am concerned they may want to come inside to make sure there wasn’t a bigger problem that I either hadn’t realized or intended to conceal. “Sir!” I hear from outside again, I finally open the door wearing half the robe and explain that I have already called down, the alarm was for steam from the shower – all is well.
I got a confused look, an “Okay, no problem” and a workout getting robed all before 6:15pm. I felt terrible that it went off but the more I thought about it, it’s not really my fault or any other guest’s. Who in the safety and design department thought that out? I asked the front desk later how often that happens and got mixed answers. One suggested it happens every few days, another less than two times per month. In either case, it’s probably time to move the location of the heat sensors from away from the very most likely place that will set them off.
In other visits to the Houston area I have seen prices for this property range from $160-320/night. If you have business in the area, this property is an excellent choice, though Marriott and Westin also compete in the premium, full-service market. There is a ton of easy shopping and dining in the area and I really enjoyed the property and its location. That being said, I just can’t spend more than $220 for this hotel for business and would need to be sub $175/night for a personal stay based on competition in the area and elsewhere in Houston. I liked the property, there are some kinks to work out and the style isn’t a perfect match, but compared to other boiler plate properties, Hyatt Centric the Woodlands stands out and above the competition.
Have you stayed in a Hyatt Centric before? Have you set off the fire alarm in a hotel accidentally? Have a justification for an offensive sauce to cover your breakfast without it being mentioned?